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ITV joins BBC to create free HDTV satellite service

April 29th, 2007 · 3 Comments

The prospect of free-to-air high definition broadcasting in the UK moved forward this week with the announcement by the BBC that it plans to launch the platform early 2008. The venture has been approved by the BBC Trust and will be conducted as a joint venture with ITV.
The proposal is for as many as 200 TV channels to be available, most in standard definition but a selection in high definition, all without the need for a subscription. A range of reception equipment will be made available, both SD and HD, receiver only and PVR.
The BBC says Freesat’s primary purpose is to drive digital take-up in analogue homes, particularly in those areas which are out of digital terrestrial coverage, but significantly the service also allows high definition broadcasting without spectrum space constraints.
ITV Executive Chairman, Michael Grade, explains: “Freesat will build on the success of Freeview by offering viewers a simple and cost effective way of upgrading to digital TV. By filling in the current gaps in Freeview coverage, Freesat will ensure that a free-to-air, no strings attached option for accessing digital TV is available to the whole of the UK ahead of digital switchover. By offering HD capability we will future proof Freesat if, as expected, high definition television continues to capture the imagination of UK viewers.”
BBC Director-General, Mark Thompson, adds: “Our objective in launching Freesat is to support Digital Switchover by providing another way for license payers to receive digital television channels and radio services, subscription free from the BBC and ITV.”
The BBC and ITV are currently in discussions with other broadcasters about joining the venture. The BBC Trust decided to sanction the service following an overwhelming vote of confidence to its Freesat consultation. 93 per cent of the 700 respondents said that the BBC should take action to improve access to its digital services. The Trust is insisting that Freesat should be kept operationally separate from Freeview. The public broadcaster says that it will now conduct a public value test on a high definition TV service.

Tags: High definition TV · Trade

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 chris evans // Apr 29, 2007 at 10:23 am

    Great news
    i have just bought a 32 bravia hd tv and now i want to see hd in action

    loking forward to seeing the new freesat boxes.

    bring it on

  • 2 gareth // Aug 22, 2007 at 2:57 pm

    Great news I have a Pace HD satellite receiver and at the moment only have the one HD channel (BBC HD)! Looking forward to more free HD channels in 2008.


  • 3 Devi Prasad // Nov 24, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    Can any1 tell me if a HDtv receiver can receive only HD channels or it can give us both HD & regular viewings together!

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